Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 49, Issue 2, pp 527–541 | Cite as

Learning How to Make Friends for Chinese Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Hong Kong Chinese Version of the PEERS® Intervention

  • Kathy Kar-Man ShumEmail author
  • Wai Kwan Cho
  • Lourdes Mei Oi Lam
  • Elizabeth A. Laugeson
  • Wai Shan Wong
  • Louisa S. K. Law
Original Paper


This study examined the treatment efficacy of PEERS® (Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills) among Chinese adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in Hong Kong. The original PEERS® manual was translated into Chinese, and cultural adjustments were made according to a survey among 209 local adolescents in the general population. 72 high-functioning adolescents with ASD were randomly assigned to a treatment or waitlist control group. The 14-week parent-assisted training significantly improved social skills knowledge and social functioning, and also reduced autistic mannerisms. Treatment outcomes were maintained for 3 months after training and replicated in the control group after delayed treatment. The present study represents one of the few randomized controlled trials on PEERS® conducted outside North America.


Autism Social skills PEERS Intervention Chinese Adolescents 



We would like to thank the following people for their valuable assistance on this project: Y.N. Chan, Elsa L.Y. Chiu, C.T. Choi, Eunice E.H. Choy, Ariel Y.T. Lam, Bertha T.W. Lee, Rachel N.L. Ma, Cynthia Y.T. Lo, Joanne C.Y. Wong, Yannie Y.L. Wong, who helped in the screening process; Evangel College, United Christian College, Joanne K.Y. Wong who helped in the data collection for the survey; Anissa W.Y. Cheung, Y.M. Ho, K.Y. Lung, who helped in the translation and editing of the manual; Wilson W.L. Ang, T.W. Chan, C.T. Choi, Y.M. Ho, Jody P.Y. Lam, T.H. Lam, April O.Y. Lai, Joanne S.M. Lau, Regina C.W. Law, Bronte K.P. Lee, W.F. Li, Rosita W.P. Lui, K.Y. Lung, Candy W.M. Sun, Candy S.Y. Wong, Sabrina T.Y. Wong, K. Y. Wu, Doris K.W. Yu, who helped in the training. We would also like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the families who participated in this study.

Author Contributions

KKS conceived the study, participated in its design, performed the statistical analysis, interpreted the data, and drafted the manuscript; WKC and LMOL participated in the design and coordination of the study, and performed the measurement; EAL participated in the design of the study and helped to draft the manuscript; WSW participated in the coordination of the study and performed the measurement; LSKL conceived the study, and participated in its design and coordination. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


This work was supported and funded by SAHK.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

K. K.-M. Shum and W. K. Cho declare that they have no conflict of interest. L. M. O. Lam, W. S. Wong, and L. S. K. Law are current employees of SAHK. E. A. Laugeson is the director of the UCLA PEERS® Clinic, and author of the original PEERS® Manual.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

10803_2018_3728_MOESM1_ESM.docx (23 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 23 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathy Kar-Man Shum
    • 1
    Email author
  • Wai Kwan Cho
    • 2
  • Lourdes Mei Oi Lam
    • 2
  • Elizabeth A. Laugeson
    • 3
  • Wai Shan Wong
    • 2
  • Louisa S. K. Law
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe University of Hong KongHong KongChina
  2. 2.SAHKHong KongChina
  3. 3.Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human BehaviorUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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